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ForRent Magazine uses mobile to track readership

ForRent Magazine has mobilized its apartment listings to track readership.

The apartment resource publication tapped mobile firm Cellit to assign keywords to listings. Readers are asked to text a keyword to the short code 47368 for information on the listing.

"ForRent's strategy is to provide additional value to its readers," said Dave Wachs, president of Cellit, Toledo, OH. "The mobilized listings also help ForRent track to see how many people are actually reading."

ForRent is an online and print resource for people hunting for apartments in states such as Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Texas, Arizona and California.

Readers who text-in get a reply thanking them for trying the service and are asked to reply YES for information on apartments.

The listing is customized by the broker or owner of the apartment and can include pricing information, photos and directions to the place.

Depending on the carrier, the next message the user receives is either a text with options such as click to call, request a flyer, search nearby a start a new search.

AT&T customers get a link to a micro site of the property they inquired about created by Cellit.

Consumers then receive a third and final text asking them to reply with a fax number or email address to receive more property information.

For example, consumers can text the word LAKES to short code 47368. In return they get information about a lake property at Dominion Square. The interested user will opt-in for information such as location, design and features.

There is also a coupon at the top of the listing that gives redeemers 1 free month of rent at the particular property.

Cellit is a mobile company. It has done mobile campaigns for musical productions Legally Blonde and Blue Man Group (see story).

Cellit helped Legally Blonde and Blue Man Group build their database of fans by getting theatre-goers to text in their email addresses. These campaigns consisted of mobile coupons, polls, a text-to-win sweepstakes and text alerts.

ForRent has a different goal in mind.

"The ForRent brand is known as a leader of providing information, with its magazine and online efforts," Mr. Wachs said. "The mobile effort enforces the brand as a leader in providing information."